The Death of John Lennon
Life is what happens to you
when you’re busy making other plans.
It has been over 20 years since the murder of John Lennon yet his words and music continue to find new and appreciative young audiences. Musical styles and fashions shift ceaselessly but the music of John Lennon continues to commercially outpace most contemporary acts 40 years after his debut, proving that great songs never go out of style.
It’s well known that John and (in particular) his widow Yoko Ono employed astrologers. Whilst their advice might have been exemplary, the fact of Lennon’s assassination begs the question whether this kind of violence could have been foreseen and warned against. That’s not to say this necessarily wasn’t the case at the time. It’s only certain that if a warning was issued, it was not heeded. What then would an astrologer have seen in the fall of 1980 to make the case for extra security and safety precautions? And did living in New York City bring potential danger and threats more into focus for John Lennon?
John Lennon natal chart
As with all astrological analyses, we begin with the natal birth chart. John Lennon was born in war time Liverpool England (2W55, 53N25) on October 9, 1940 at 6:30 PM BST. This gives an ascendant of 19.54 Aries and a Midheaven of 7.08 Capricorn. The Sun is at 16.16 Libra and the Moon is at 3.33 Aquarius.
I look at two midpoints in most charts. One is the Ascendant/Midheaven midpoint (ASC/MC). A chart factor(s) on this sensitive point (either -0-, -45-, -90-, -135-, or -180- degrees to it with an orb of +/-2 degrees), describes something of the objective nature of an event. Using Alfred Witte’s Hamburg School rules, the ASC describes the place of an event and the MC its moment. So the ASC/MC can be translated as “at this place and time”. The other midpoint I look at is the Sun/Moon midpoint (SU/MO). A chart factor(s) on this sensitive point colours the basic identity of the event. In John Lennon’s birth chart his ASC/MC was 28.31 Aquarius (13.31 of the cardinals) and his SU/MO 9.54 Sagittarius (24.54 of the cardinals).
The natal chart fits many of the themes of John Lennon’s life. The Sun setting in Libra underscores his life long search for a radiant and creative partnership which he achieved first with Paul McCartney professionally, and then with Yoko Ono. Chart ruler Mars in Libra (conjunct Neptune) describes his charismatic popularity, artistic and imaginative drive. In the 6th house, it can describe a predisposition to addictive habits and escapist behaviours. Mars conjunct both Neptune and the North Node, and squaring the MC, probably explains why he gravitated toward musical bands as an expression of his professional persona, his tireless campaigns for world peace, and his propensity for controversy. He was reputed to be quite aggressive and even abusive toward others sometimes, particularly in his youth, which seems to fit the pattern of an Aries ascendant conjoining the South Node. Yet his public image as a musician is very Neptunian; romantic and beguiling. There often is a wide gulf between the real and the ideal when the collective imagination is fired up to the extent it was for John, which his chart ruler Mars conjunct Neptune conveys so well.
His acerbic wit, sarcastic sense of humour, and ability to pen powerful lyrics is neatly shown by Mercury in Scorpio in square to Pluto. Mercury in the 7th perhaps shows the collaborative nature of his much of his earlier song writing with the Beatles (always credited as Lennon-McCartney compositions). He often referred to himself as a journalist, and he could have been a fine investigative journalist.
Mercury also opposes Jupiter conjunct Saturn. It may not be so much that Lennon was a spokesperson for his generation but more that he was intellectually receptive to the powerful changes which were percolating through the collective in the 1960’s, and able to communicate what he was able to say effectively through music. Mercury sextiles Venus and rules his 3rd house. He compared his position as a Beatle to being in a ship’s crow’s nest: a high vantage point from which to experience the way new social trends were developing. Later as his confidence grew, his opinions and skill in manipulating the media made him the voice of conscience, exhorting world leaders even to embrace the concerns of young people and their search for meaning and freedom with responsible leadership.
The Moon in Aquarius in the 11th neatly illustrates his humanitarian instincts. The overall air emphasis in the chart shows his adherence to the principle of world peace in the face of wide spread skepticism, and the self revelatory honesty which was the hallmark of his art. On a mundane level, Moon exactly opposite Pluto must have something to do with the death of his mother, and the domestic upheaval which informed some of his musical narratives. The Moon rules both the 4th and 5th houses. John almost seemed to need to purge his potentially destructive feelings through music and social causes.
The strong air emphasis, whilst communicative, intelligent, and rational, doesn’t really speak to his romantic side. There’s Mars conjunct Neptune of course, but note in Lennon’s chart the powerfully manifesting Venus/Neptune aspect of 22.5 degrees, with an orb 19′. It is this aspect perhaps more than any other which brought out the tender idealism of perfect love and harmony he expressed in so many songs. Venus in Virgo is well represented in artists who have discriminating tastes and are attracted to the simple techniques and pure forms of artistic expression like rock’n’roll or the blues.
Note that John Lennon was born within days of an exact Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. This cycle, in part, has something to do with professional advancement, or the grounding of inspiration and joy. Jupiter conjoins Saturn in the 1st and trines the MC. The MC ruler Saturn opposed Mercury (ruling the 3rd), in turn sextiling the MC, which gave him a world wide stage to perform on once he paid his dues coming up, which he did against all odds. He was hardly ever expected to succeed after a turbulent adolescence and failed school career.
New York City ( 74W1, 40N43) was an important city in John Lennon’s life. He not only chose to live there during the 1970’s but one of the most important professional events for him happened there, the Beatles first TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. It’s interesting to note that on that day transiting Jupiter at 16.09 Aries was exactly opposed Lennon’s Sun and on his ASC/MC midpoint in New York, hinting at personal fulfillment at that location but was also forming up its exact outgoing “fated” septile aspect with Saturn at 24.50 Aquarius. The performance was a tour de force, and maybe more than any other single event imprinted the image of the Beatles into the collective consciousness of North Americans, inspiring a generation of rock musicians coming up from behind.
The planetary cycles to which a person is tuned at birth are mapped out by the planetary aspects. Many of the important events in a life will occur at resonant moments in the outworking of those planetary cycles. Not only was John Lennon born under a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction but he died under one as well.
The planetary positions and SU/MO midpoint remain the same in the relocated chart, of course, but the Angles and the ASC/MC midpoint will change from location to location. Relocating John Lennon’s birth chart to New York City gives an ascendant of 4.26 Capricorn, an MC of 28.41 Libra and, as already noted, an ASC/MC midpoint of 1.33 Sagittarius (or 16.33 of the cardinals). Lennon’s Sun is tightly linked to the relocated New York City ASC/MC midpoint (SU=ASC/MC). He admired New York as the centre ( Sun) of the cultural (Libra) world, and felt he could be at home and move about freely and relatively undisturbed by disinterested New Yorkers. The astrology connects the man to the city in no uncertain terms. Lennon’s Sun is angular in both Liverpool and New York.
Pay particular attention to the positions of the Angles in all these charts. We shall see that the repetition of certain degrees down through the hierarchy of charts provide the mundane astrologer with key information with which to base prospective forecasts. The channels through which planetary energies are able to eventually find expression through progressively shorter and shorter cycles, until an event is primed and ready to be released into the world.
The eclipses prior to an event are the amongst the most important charts for predictive purposes. Then, both the seasonal ingress and monthly lunation charts are brought in to complete the overall astrological picture of an event. I suggest that charts cast for the conjunction phase of planetary cycles prior to an important event, to which a person is keyed at birth, also need to be examined to tell the whole story.
One technical note. As with midpoints, a reflection of each chart factor and sensitive point occurs at every subsequent 45 degree position (8th Harmonic) around the horoscope. I have listed the indirect positions of the Angles and planets because it is as if they simultaneously occupy those indirect (8th Harmonic) placements too. Although there is some credence to giving more weight to a conjunction of two planets than the sesquiquadrate in a natal reading. As far as actualized manifested events go, I have found no difference between any of the so called “hard” (8th harmonic) aspects. In fact, I hesitate to call either the semisquare or sesquiquadrate minor aspects at all. If they are very close by orb (within 30′), they are powerfully manifesting aspects and should be accorded the attention given to conjunctions, squares and oppositions.
We’ve seen already that Mars not only conjoins Neptune in the natal chart, but also trines Uranus and sextiles Pluto. Lennon was not only selfless and empathetic in the expression of his aggressive instincts, he could be self defeating at times through misguided faith and poor judgment. He was also dedicated and passionate, as well as original, spontaneous and progressive. These are hints of self pitying temper and pique too, but the point is that the Mars/Uranus, Mars/Neptune, and Mars/Pluto cycles are all important in his life. Their symbolism is highly descriptive of his death, given that he was a victim of gun violence, and furthermore was shot in the back.
At the moment of John Lennon’s death
At the moment of Lennon’s death ( December 8, 1980, 10:52 PM), Mars was forming its outgoing semisquare with Uranus at 13.05 Capricorn, which is exactly equals the his natal ASC/MC in Liverpool (at 13.31 of the cardinals). The image of sudden yet deliberate use of force finding expression into the world for John seems to corroborate the recorded time of his death. A thorough examination of all the these Mars cycles in relation to the event of Lennon’s death makes for a fascinating study. However, for the purposes of this article I intend to focus primarily on the Jupiter/Saturn cycle in relation to Lennon’s life and death.
Amongst the several interesting interconnections between the natal chart and the death chart which I will call the event chart from here on in, we see that the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction on the day of his death (JU/SA midpoint at 7.46 Libra) is square to his natal MC in Liverpool at 7.08 Capricorn. As well, the nodes at 13.44 Leo/Aquarius exactly square his natal Jupiter/Saturn conjunction (midpoint at 13.27 Taurus).
It has been noted that there seems to be a connection between the 20 year Jupiter/Saturn cycle and the assassinations of American presidents. In fact, there was an attempt on President Reagan’s life a month after the 1980 conjunction, a failure attributed to the fact that the conjunction in 1980 occurred in an air sign rather than in an earth sign, as were the previous conjunctions associated with the deaths of US presidents.
But why Jupiter and Saturn? It’s true that the symbolism of both these planets begins to move beyond the merely personal to have more social or societal implications. There are always certain well positioned individuals whose accomplishments seem to resonate and hold sway with the public, which give them a kind of moral (Jupiter) authority (Saturn) to pursue their aims. That influence is usually positive but can also be provocative to a few. Jupiter has a way of inflating the qualities of any planet it touches so Jupiter and Saturn may have something to do with huge (Jupiter) collective outpourings of grief (Saturn). Or perhaps it’s equally well stated to say, “a contraction (Saturn) of joy (Jupiter) in the collective.”
The connection of the transiting lunar nodes at the time of death with Lennon’s natal Jupiter/Saturn conjunction emphasises the sense of loss felt all around the world, especially with both factors being closely with (45 degrees/135 degrees) the Aries Point, putting the potential of his Mars/Neptune/Nodal conjunction into a new perspective. Many believe he was a murdered martyr for peace, although his assailant murdered him ostensibly for being a “phoney”. Both descriptions appropriately describe Mars conjunct Neptune.
The death chart’s Moon, always an important timing mechanism or trigger in events, is at 5.04 Capricorn exactly conjunct John’s relocated ascendant at 4.26 Capricorn. His relocated MC at 28.41 Libra exactly conjoins the ASC of the chart of Lennon’s death set for Liverpool at 29.34 Libra. The repetition of Angle degrees between these two charts connects Liverpool and and New York City in the outworking of events in John Lennon’s life and allows the potential of the natal chart to express in another locality.
Examining the Jupiter/Saturn connection a little further from a cyclical perspective, an exact conjunction occurred three times in and around the time John Lennon was born: August 8, 1940 at 1:23 AM GMT, October 20, 1040 at 4:38 AM GMT, and February 15, 1941 at 6:36 AM GMT. I’d like to look at the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction which occurred on October 20, 1940 because this is the one closest to Lennon’s date of birth. We find the exact conjunction at 12.28 Taurus which, as we’ve already seen, is nearly exactly with the nodes in Lennon’s death chart. In Liverpool we get an ASC of 3.29 Libra and MC of 4.39 Cancer (ASC/MC of 19.04 Leo). This midpoint squares Mercury at 20.59 Scorpio. In addition to its transit over the relocated natal ascendant, the assassination Moon is also precipitating the expression of his natal Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, and its connotation of searching for meaning in sorrow. We shall see that this degree area, between 3-5, in the cardinal signs, and its indirect positions of 18-20 in the fixed signs, is repeated throughout this analysis.
The New York – Liverpool connection in John Lennon’s astrology persists. The 1940 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction chart cast for New York City yields an ASC/MC of 16.58 Gemini. The Sun, which (according to Witte) defines the day of the event, exactly opposes this point in John’s death chart at 17.14 Sagittarius. This focuses our attention on December 8 (and no other day) in New York to release the “here and now” potential of the 1940 Jupiter/Saturn cycle, which Lennon was so keyed into at birth. Whilst it doesn’t say anything really about which year, a look at the conjunction phase chart (containing the seed potential for the meaning of the entire cycle as it is expressed through its subsequent phases) does provide the forecasting astrologer with one of most critical days throughout cycle for a particular location, in this case New York City.
However, this wasn’t the only Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in John’s lifetime. Roughly 20 years later, on February 19, 1961 at 12:02 AM GMT, a new cycle began. This period corresponds to the formative years of the Beatles just prior to their recording career. A chart cast for Liverpool gives an ascendant at 8.31 Scorpio, an MC at 23.58 Leo, ASC/MC at 1.14 Libra ( 16.14 of the fixed signs), and SU/MO at 24.52 Pisces ( 9.52 of the fixed signs.) The Jupiter/Saturn conjunction itself falls at 25.12 Capricorn, exactly with the SU/MO midpoint of John’s natal chart (24.54 of the cardinals). This suggests that Lennon would use these Jupiter/Saturn energies over the course of this cycle to self integrate or get his act together. He certainly did that with a vengeance. There are many interesting features in this chart, most notably the Moon (19.36 Aries) is in an exact conjunct Lennon’s birth ascendant in Liverpool (19.54 Aries). Also, Lennon’s natal Mercury is in opposition to Jupiter, and Saturn falls right across the horizon of the 1961 Jupiter/chart. His natal Mars at 2.40 Libra falls closely with the 1961 ASC/MC midpoint.
Relocating the chart to New York City reveals an ascendant of 18.15 Virgo, an MC of 16.22 Gemini, and ASC/MC of 2.18 Leo (17.18 of the mutables). The event Sun (17.14 Sagittarius) and Lennon’s natal Moon (3.03 Aquarius) are both tied into all these degrees. Considering the position of Moon, ruling the 4th house in Lennon’s natal chart, and traditionally signifying the circumstances surrounding the end of one’s life, we once again are drawn to December 8 (17 degrees Sagittarius) in New York as a critical date when the potential within the Jupiter/Saturn cycle might be released into the world. In the 1961 Jupiter/Saturn chart (for Liverpool) Uranus exactly culminates, and Neptune rises which connects to Lennon’s Mercury/Jupiter/Saturn configuration. This combination underlines not only Lennon’s inventive reputation, universal appeal, and possible personal suffering and/or isolation (maybe a result of extreme fame) as an expression of the meaning of this cycle, but also the potential for sudden upset and shock, as well as shadowy impressionable persons in the environment (connected perhaps with his ongoing presence in the press as a public figure).
This was the last Jupiter/Saturn cycle in John’s lifetime. At the time of his death, Jupiter and Saturn were, once again, nearly exactly conjunct. This conjunction occurred on December 31, 1980 at 9:25 PM GMT. One of the curious features of cyclical charts is that sometimes they cast their shadows ahead in time, occurring celestially shortly after their corresponding terrestrial events have already happened. Ingresses and eclipses are similar in this sense, as they seem to have an effect for several weeks prior to their occurrence. If we were John Lennon’s astrologer, working in advance and knowing what we know about the importance of the Jupiter/Saturn cycle in his life, a look ahead at the December 31st chart would be a must. The catalogue of interconnections with the other charts we’ve looked at so far is impressive.
The chart cast for Liverpool gives an ascendant of 8.35 Virgo, MC of 0.56 Gemini, and an ASC/MC of 19.46 Cancer. ASC/MC is exactly square Lennon’s natal ascendant. Jupiter and Saturn at 9.31 chartnatal MC) exactly squares Sun and Mercury, connects with the natal nodes at 10.35 Libra/Aries. The sense of fate deepens even more.
The Case for Caution
We can surmise that the 1980 Jupiter/Saturn cycle had fated implications for Lennon. In this chart (cast in NYC) the SU/MO midpoint at 24.36 of the cardinals is repeating its natal degree, except now we find Pluto at 24.08 Libra squaring the SU/MO midpoint, as well as Uranus at 28.25 Scorpio squaring the ASC/MC midpoint at 28.31 of the fixed signs. A potentially dangerous picture begins to emerge in relation to this new Jupiter/Saturn cycle with the Pluto-Uranus hard-edged themes of transformation, crisis, and change made entirely personal for John with the involvement of those two midpoints.
Lennon had only just recently returned to the music business, having been a house husband for the previous five years. Our astrological focus probably would have been on the regenerative, deep seated creative possibilities of Pluto connected to the SU/MO midpoint. Pluto also symbolizes death. We need to acknowledge potential negative manifestations, in this case not to unduly alarm, but to raise awareness regarding Lennon’s need to let go of outdated attitudes of freedom over the course of this cycle, including both professional security issues because those are, in part, Pluto issues too.
The Moon (8.49 Scorpio) is exactly conjoined the ASC of the 1961 Jupiter/Saturn chart, as well as Lennon’s natal Mercury/Jupiter/Saturn combination. Neptune at (23.04 Sagittarius) is tied to the SU/MO midpoint of the 1961 chart. The nodes at 12.31 Leo/Aquarius are in an exact square to Lennon’s natal Jupiter/Saturn ( midpoint 13.27 Taurus). Mars at 0.46 Aquarius is nearly exactly squared to the ASC of the event chart at 29.34 Libra, when relocated to Liverpool. And finally Venus at 17.01 Sagittarius has reached the Sun’s degree at 17.14 Sagittarius in the event chart.
The 1980 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction cast for New York City gives an ascendant of 8.32 Cancer, an MC of 16.37 Pisces, and an ASC/MC midpoint of 12.34 Taurus. Note the ascendant is nearly exactly opposite the natal MC, square the natal nodes, and forms another tight t-square with the chart’s Sun/Mercury conjunction and the Jupiter/Saturn union, making New York as a likely place for the potential of Jupiter/Saturn cycle to find expression. Additionally, the MC degree is exactly square the event Sun and the ASC/MC midpoint is exactly conjunct Lennon’s natal Jupiter/Saturn.
We can now begin to examine various shorter cycles against the backdrop of the 20 year Jupiter/Saturn cycle beginning with the September 1980 Ingress chart. The seasonal ingress of the Sun into each cardinal sign is valuable for delineating the important issues of the year or at least the 3 month period it circumscribes before the next seasonal ingress. Like any cyclical chart it seems to become effective at least several weeks before the actual celestial event so we are looking at a period perhaps between early September to early December.
The September Libra 1980 Ingress occurred on September 22, 1980 at 9:09 PM GMT. In Liverpool this gives an ascendant at 22.12 Gemini, an MC at 13.45 Aquarius, the ASC/MC midpoint at 17.58 Aries (2.58 of the mutables) and the SU/MO at 18.34 Sagittarius ( 3.34 fixed). Neptune is angular and setting and is on the SU/MO midpoint (NE=SU/MO). John Lennon’s natal Moon (3.33 Aquarius) is exactly conjunct the NE= SU/MO of the ingress to within a minute of orb and his natal Sun (16.16 Libra) is exactly on the ASC/MC midpoint of the ingress, linking him powerfully to this particular ingress. Lennon’s Moon on the the ingress’ NE=SU/MO suggests a necessity to respond to the potentially undermining fantasy driven behaviour of others over the course of the ingress. Not something he was unfamiliar with, I’m sure, but taken together with the PL=SU/MO and UR=ASC/MC of the upcoming December 1980 death chart, a more ominous tone begins to emerge.
Casting the ingress for New York City reveals an ascendant of 19.20 Aquarius, an MC at 6.57 Sagittarius, and the ASC/MC at 13.08 Capricorn. The nodes at 17. 49 Leo/Aquarius fall across the horizon of this chart nearly exactly, while squaring the ingress Mars at 16.28 Scorpio. Lennon’s natal Mars (2.40 Libra) is exactly semisquare/sesquiquadrate these nodes (with an 9′ orb), and closely semisquare the ingress Mars. The ASC/MC midpoint is exactly on Lennon’s natal ASC/MC in Liverpool. The message of the ingress in New York City for John Lennon has to do with conflict or willfulness in one form or another in relation to his connection to the community, taking in fans who feel the connection to him. The event Moon at 5.04 Capricorn is exactly semisquare the New York City ASC, triggering the dangerous potentials of the NN=ASC=MA of the ingress in that locality. The event nodes at 13.44 Leo/Aquarius are exactly conjunct the MC/IC axis of the ingress set for Liverpool to within a minute of orb. Lennon’s fate was beginning to close in on him.
Remarkably, the Sun in the ingress chart is sandwiched between Jupiter and Saturn. All three conjoin within 22′ of arc, but what also catches our attention in the fall of 1980 is that along with Jupiter an Saturn, three other new cycles were about to begin: Mercury and Pluto; Mars and Uranus: and Mars and Neptune. We would already know that these are significant for Lennon because he was born with Mercury square Pluto, Mars trine Uranus, and Mars conjunct Neptune. The accident prone Mars/Uranus cycle, the persuasive and provocative Mercury/Pluto cycle (which Ebertin also related to the spirit of opposition and the over-estimation of self) and the inspirational yet sometimes delusional and “sneak attack” potentials of the Mars/Neptune cycle would need to be looked at to flesh out a more complete picture of the prevalent astrological influences during the September ingress period.
I’ll take a brief look at these cycles chronologically beginning with Mercury and Pluto. A conjunction occurred only 13 hours after the ingress event on September 23, 1980 at 10:12 AM GMT. In Liverpool we get an ASC at 12.45 Scorpio, an MC at 0.26 Virgo, the ASC/MC at 6.36 Libra (21.36 of the fixed signs) and SU/MO at 22.53 Sagittarius (7.53 of the fixed signs). Also, UR=ASC/MC is exactly linked with Lennon’s natal MC and JU=SU/MO. The event Moon at 5.04 Capricorn is connected to UR=ASC/MC, and the event nodes exactly square the horizon of this chart (which also falls across Lennon’s natal Jupiter/Saturn). In New York City New York City we get an ASC at 23.10 Virgo, exactly on Jupiter, an MC at 22.06 Gemini (opposing Neptune and the ASC/MC at 7.38 Leo), which connects to the SU/MO of the chart, which suggests the central meaning of this roughly one year cycle will find expression in New York.
Mercury and Pluto are at 20.51 Libra, exactly conjoined with Lennon’s natal descendant at 19.54 Libra, and square the event ASC/MC in New York at 20.57 Cancer. The descendant is an area of the chart where we are, as a rule, less consciously engaged and more likely to experience planetary influences in a more fated way, usually through the agency of other people. This in itself is a cautionary feature because there’s always the possibility of being undone by the actions of others. Venus exactly conjoins the nodes and squares Mars in the Mercury/Pluto chart, reiterating this theme.
The Mars/Uranus conjunction occurred on October 2, 1980 at 2:27 PM GMT. In Liverpool we get an ascendant at 9.22 Capricorn, exactly squaring the Sun at 9.32 Libra which in turn is exactly conjoined with Jupiter and Saturn of the 1980 Jupiter/Saturn chart at 9.31 Libra to within a minute of orb! The Mars/Uranus idea of “sudden and capricious action” is connected to the Jupiter/Saturn cycle that was about to begin at the end of that year. Given the unpredictable explosiveness Mars/Uranus exchanges are often noted for, this configuration strikes me as particularly unsettling. The MC at 17.45 Scorpio is exactly with the nodes, Venus and Mars of the September Ingress, exactly conjoin Venus in the event chart at 18.41 Scorpio, and the Angles and ASC/MC of the October 20, 1940 Jupiter/Saturn Conjunction. The ASC/MC of the Mars/Uranus conjunction chart in Liverpool at 28.33 of the cardinals (tied to the Moon at 27.05 Cancer) is exactly with Lennon’s natal MC in New York at 28.41 Libra. Right down the line the astrology continues to link the two cities together. Note that Mars and Uranus at 23.12 Scorpio is rising in New York City where we get an ASC at 20.31 Scorpio. The ASC/MC midpoint of this chart in New York (11.21 Libra) is exactly conjunct Lennon’s “fated” North Node at 10.35 Libra. Also note that Saturn in this chart at 1.24 Libra is closely conjoined to Lennon’s natal MA, his chart ruler. Ebertin relates Mars/Saturn exchanges to cases of death (sometimes).
Mars and Neptune conjoin on November 10, 1980 at 7:27 AM GMT. Set for Liverpool this gives an ascendant at 16.49 Scorpio which conjuncts the Sun (at 18.04). Again we see that the middle degrees of the fixed signs and the equivalent early degrees of the cardinal sign are powerful connections between the whole range of charts we’ve looked at so far. This conjunction repeats the phasing of the two planets in John’s natal chart. In fact if we looked at the chart for the exact Mars/Neptune just prior to John’s birth on September 28, 1940 at 7:32 PM GMT set for New York City we find an MC of 18.52 Scorpio, and the Sun at 5.30 Libra! In the 1980 Mars/Neptune chart, Saturn (at 5.52 Libra) takes up the Sun’s position in the 1940 Mars/Neptune chart. As well, the event Moon is with all these positions including the Nodes of the September Ingress and so on. The Liverpool MC of the 1980 Mars/Neptune chart at 6.42 Virgo is exactly square to the September ingress MC in New York City at 6.57 Sagittarius, and opposite to the Ingress Moon at 7.09 Pisces. Interestingly, the Moon in this chart at 15.12 Sagittarius squares the Moon in the Mercury/Pluto chart at 15.15 Pisces.
Venus at 13.10 Libra is exactly configured with Lennon’s natal ASC/MC in Liverpool and the event Venus (18.41 Scorpio) is exactly conjunct the Sun in the 1980 Mars/Neptune chart at 18.04 Scorpio. Venus may seem to present an enigmatic message but it’s important to recall that Lennon’s fortunes were definitely on the rise at the time of his death. His new record “Double Fantasy” was in release, and he was all over the media mounting a charm offensive, both to boost sales and promote his wife’s recording career.
The 1980 Mars/Neptune in New York shows the ASC/MC midpoint at 12.44 Leo, in step with Lennon’s natal Jupiter/Saturn union at 13.13 Taurus; the event nodes at 13.44 Leo/Aquarius; the MC of the September Ingress; and the ASC of the Mercury/Pluto chart at 12.45 Scorpio to within a minute of orb. The Mars/Neptune itself at 21.11 Sagittarius is tied to the ASC/MC of the event chart in Liverpool at 20.I7 Virgo, nearly exactly setting in the September Ingress chart set for Liverpool, and precisely opposing the MC of the Mercury/Pluto chart set in New York at 22.06 Gemini.
Cyclic thread after cyclic thread interconnects and weaves together through the exchange of Angles, the positions of the Lights, and the planets, through increasingly shorter and shorter cycles until an event is primed and released into the world. Surely then the notion of randomness in the unfolding of the cyclic solar system has to be abandoned at this point. As we shall see, there is still more..
There was one other new Mars cycle that preceded the September ingress which helps put all the others into some perspective. This was the Mars/Pluto cycle which exact conjunction phase began on August 12, 1980 5:21 PM GMT. For me this is the “smoking gun” augur that as a stand alone chart would have been enough to prompt an astrologer to ask John Lennon to take extra care over the year that this cycle would be in effect. Mars/Pluto exchanges almost always refer to the intensification of the will. They tend to express compulsively and in a controlling way. Mars/Pluto can sometimes be violent in expression in mundane events. Ebertin related Mars/Pluto to the principle of superhuman power, and also force and brutality. Lennon had these two planets in sextile, and over the course of his life demonstrated the regenerative and resilient possibilities inherent in that aspect. It took him time and experience to begin to channel those energies constructively. When he did, however, the results were staggeringly successful.
When we cast the Mars/Pluto chart for Liverpool we get an ascendant of 2.43 Capricorn exactly squaring Lennon’s natal Mars (2.40 Libra); the MC at 11.04 Scorpio, exactly square to the event MC (10.41 Leo); the ASC/MC at 6.53 Sagittarius (21.53 of the cardinals) — precisely on the MC of the New York City September Ingress (6.57 Sagittarius), and square the Ingress Moon at 7.09 Pisces. The SU/MO midpoint at 1.01 Virgo (16.1 of the cardinals) semi-squares Lennon’s natal Sun (16.16 Libra) connecting him personally to the unfoldment of the cycle, and its meaning. Ebertin lists as a possible manifestation: the misfortune of having to suffer violent assaults . The Mars/Pluto conjunction at 19.31 Libra is tied to the ASC/MC, but even more impressive is that it is precisely conjoined to John’s natal descendent (19.54 Libra)! This actually feels dangerous to me, and would need to have been discussed in terms of heightened security and protection, especially for a celebrity of his stature. The same chart cast for New York has Uranus rising, and the ASC/MC 5.17 Libra) is tightly connected (in the 8th harmonics) to the Sun, Venus, Uranus, and the North Node, with images of focused creativity, as well as the genuine outpouring of love at this time and place, but also possible collective shock and disbelief. Notice the event Moon at 5.04 Capricorn is triggering this picture into manifestation.
Traditionally eclipses are the foundations of prediction in mundane events. Unlike ordinary lunations which describe the ebb and low of feeling and response in the collective over the course of a month, an eclipsed degree can stay energized for months and even years making eclipses the true celestial signposts of future events. The two solar eclipses prior to John Lennon’s murder occurred on February 16, 1980 at 8:53 AM GMT and August 10, 1980 at 7:11 PM GMT.
The February eclipsed degree at 26.50 Aquarius is nearly exactly square to Lennon’s natal Uranus at 25.32 Taurus. It is also exactly connected to the ASC/MC of the Mars/Uranus chart set for New York, as well as the ASC/MC of the 1980 Mars/Neptune chart. Uranus in both the solar eclipse chart and in the Mars/Neptune charts are at 25.29 and 25.23 Scorpio, respectively, exactly in phase with Lennon’s natal Uranus. The eclipse chart set for Liverpool gives an ascendant of 15.09 Aries, opposite Lennon’s natal Sun and Eclipse MC( 5.22 Capricorn) — yet another sensitive point to which the event Moon is linked. The Eclipse ASC/MC at 25.16 Leo ( 10.16 of the cardinals) is exactly tied to Lennon’s natal nodes, linking into the powerful natal planetary picture: UR=SU=MO=ASC/MC.
Cumulatively an image of fateful surprise begins to emerge. The ASC/MC of the eclipse chart set for New York at 29.40 Scorpio (14.40 of the cardinals) is exactly with the nodes of the chart at 29.27 Leo/Aquarius and closely with Lennon’s natal ASC/MC in Liverpool and the ASC/MC of the September Ingress in New York City. The August solar eclipse degree at 18.17 Leo (3.17 of the cardinals) links almost every chart we’ve looked at through this degree +/- 2 degree orb. The eclipsed degree is tightly connected to Venus (with ASC/MC) at 19.56 of the fixed signs of the chart set in Liverpool. We recall that event Venus will exactly conjunct this eclipse degree, is with the MC of the February 1980 solar eclipse and the ASC of the February solar eclipse in NYC at 2.38 Capricorn. When we set the chart for New York we find the incoming Mars/Pluto (18.53 Libra) is semisquare the ASC (5.32 Sagittarius), configured tightly with the ME=ASC/MC axis of the event chart set for New York.
Amongst the shortest cycles we can look at are the monthly lunations. As events begin to take shape the lunations are channels through which the longer term cycles can begin to actualize. It may be that the daily cycle of the transiting Angles are the channels through which an event is finally released into the world. The function of the lunations may be to prime the event just prior to its actualization. The December 1980 New Moon occurred just one day before John’s death on December 7, 1980 at 2:35 PM GMT. In New York this gives an ascendant of 19.15 Capricorn. The horizon exactly squares Lennon’s natal horizon which was already tied to the Mars/Pluto conjunction. So the lunation horizon is forming the channel through which those destructive energies can be released in that location (ASC). Indeed the event ASC/MC in New York at 20.57 Cancer is very closely linked with this degree.
The event Mars at 13.05 Capricorn (powerfully linked to Lennon’s natal ASC/MC) will always define critical dates because Mars will find some expression on those days. The MC in New York at 13.34 Scorpio exactly square the Nodes in the December 7th lunation, which in turn picks up Lennon’s natal Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 13.13 Taurus, the MC=SU/SA of the September Ingress in Liverpool at 13.45 Aquarius, and the ASC of the Mercury/Pluto conjunction in New York. The lunation degree at 15.39 Sagittarius repeats the Moon’s degree in the 1980 Mars/Neptune conjunction chart, square to the Moon in the Mercury/Pluto conjunction chart and closely linked to the ASC/MC of the August solar eclipse in New York City at 14.2 of the mutables.
If you’ve patiently followed my narrative, then perhaps you can also see my point that it’s simply not enough to look at a significant event by itself in astrological terms and make complete sense of it or our personal relationship to it. It becomes apparent, I hope, that an event in celestial terms is built on the ceaselessly unfolding range of interlocking cycles. What might seem in an event to be a capricious moment of fate reveals itself through an analysis of this kind to be more like a resonant moment in the cyclic unfoldment of planetary motions. Events in fact can be years if not decades in the making. It also becomes apparent that these cycles, which have always been there enfolded within themselves since eternity began, undermine the illusion that free will is absolute. It seems to me that we may have very little control at all over the external course of events. I tried to make a case for caution and self protection as the kind of advice I would have given John Lennon if I had been his astrologer, and I think I’ve achieved a measure of success. Even so, as astrologers we need to put more practice and thought into recording and understanding the buildup of celestial tensions which eventually coalesce into significant events. In this way we can begin to make consistent and useful forecasts to serve the public good.
By Martin J. Lipson